Experiences in Design Incubation Research Activities

Value in Awards: Barness and Papaelias

The 2017 Communication Design Educators Award for Scholarship: Published Research was awarded to professors Jessica Barness (Kent State University) and Amy Papaelias (SUNY, New Paltz) for their special issue of Visible Language journal, “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities” (vol. 49, no. 3). This issue locates where, how, and why critical making is emerging and the scholarly forms it takes.

Recently, jury chair Maria Rogal asked them to share their thoughts on the impact of this award. Barness and Papaelias write “scholarly activity such as this is often under-acknowledged and seen as service. At the beginning of our two years of work on this, we strategized the issue as a research project and that is how we contextualized it in our tenure and promotion dossiers. The Design Incubation awards program gave visibility to our editorial work and recognized it as a legitimate form of scholarly research activity.”

Barness and Papaelias affirm the value of and need for recognition of professional accomplishments for design educators. At Design Incubation, we are pleased to sponsor this annual awards program to recognize faculty contributions to design education and to the discipline. As the spring semester winds down, consider how the 2018 awards program might fit your professional development goals to have your work recognized, or how it might be a good fit for a colleague.


The Design Incubation Colloquium Experience: An Academic Presentation From N. Ward

In October 2016, I participated in the Design Incubation Colloquium 3.1 at Kean University. I presented on a wayfinding and signage project that focused on designing for those who are unable to take the stairs. It was entitled “How hard is it to navigate a rectangle? Harder thank you think”.

Giving that presentation opened up a few doors. The first was connecting with Elizabeth Guffey at SUNY Purchase who I will be on a panel with, on April 14, 2018, speaking about Designing for and Teaching Accessibility. The second was being invited and accepted to publish a paper, based on the DI Colloquium, in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Wayfinding and Signage.

The paper can be found here:


As I work towards tenure and promotion I am thankful for organizations like Design Incubation that help educators disseminate and network with like-minded colleagues.

Neil O. Ward
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Department of Art & Design
Drake University